PolyAI raises $50 million series C Read more

How conversational assistants drive value in the contact center

January 26, 2023


Companies have invested significant time and money in automating customer conversations to empower customers and improve operational efficiency.

Despite these investments, increasing call volume, high agent attrition rates, and growing onboarding costs present an ongoing challenge that many contact centers need help managing.

As companies continue to search for ways to retain staff, streamline processes and improve the customer experience, many are turning to conversational assistants.

This post will look at five ways conversational assistants can drive value in the contact center.

1. Reduced call volume

Conversational assistants can fully resolve up to 50% of customer calls without the customer needing to speak with a person. We call this Zero Touch Resolution. 

Reducing call volume means giving time and resources back to the call center. These resources can be used to lower cost to serve, alleviate labor shortages, or boost customer experience.

Customer-led conversational assistants give callers the freedom to speak however they like and understand intent from even long and complicated stories.

The more things the conversational assistant gets right, the more customers trust its ability to solve their problems, and the more they engage, instead of requesting to speak to an agent. Better customer experiences mean higher resolution rates and lower call volume.

2. Better CX

Customer-led conversational assistants can improve customer experience across your entire contact center program.

When agents are required to handle fewer calls, wait times go down for all customers, and agents can spend more time with the people who need them most.

With conversational assistants, customers can access support 24/7, 365 days a year, in any language.

Conversational assistants can even help you bridge the gap between digital self-service and the phone channel by connecting callers with available digital resources via text message, email or push notification.

3. Improved agent retention

The repetitive nature of an agent’s role combined with a lack of career development opportunities, excessive pressure and abusive calls are just some of the reasons employee turnover rate in contact centers remains 30-45% above the average of other occupations.

By containing repetitive call types, conversational assistants free up agents to focus on more fulfilling work and create a less stressful working environment. They alleviate the pressure of strict call handling times, improving working conditions and freeing agents to take comfort breaks.

As fewer customers are left waiting on hold, frustration is reduced, making calls more pleasant for both agents and customers.

In times of labour shortages and a competitive hiring market, agent attrition is not just a cost problem. It may prove difficult to fill agent seats, making it more important than ever to retain staff.

4. Mitigate seasonality & irregular volume

Many industries expect and plan for peaks in call volume, such as Q4 in retail and open enrollment season in insurance. In these cases, conversational assistants can “smooth out” the peaks and reduce the amount of seasonal staff you need to hire.

But some peaks in call volume are unexpected. Storms may cause deliveries to be delayed or flights to be grounded. Issues on your website and changes in Covid restrictions may cause more people to call. In these cases, a conversational assistant will allow you to serve more customers, more quickly, in crisis situations.

Peaks in call volume are when customer service crises happen. Unhappy customers will take to social media to share their bad experiences, and serious brand damage can occur when contact centers are unable to serve customers. A conversational assistant mitigates the risk of unhappy customers in busy times.

5. Better operational decisions from structured conversational data

Almost every call center has access to unstructured data, such as call recordings and transcripts. Call recordings contain all of the data on what a customer wants, but the data is not structured into a usable format.

Structured data has been categorized so that it can be analyzed. This might look like transcriptions of call recordings broken down by intents (what a caller wants), values (such as the number of people on a reservation, date, or time), or specific conversational turns (customer’s responses to specific questions). This allows clients to draw conclusions from customer data, such as – 3/10 calls are about order tracking or 20% of tables booked on Thursdays are for two people.

Contact centers often rely on agents to create structured data. Agents must select a ‘reason for call’ from a drop-down list. Not only does this reduce the amount of time agents can spend on the phone, but manual entry is prone to human error.

Companies that use conversational assistants get access to structured data, including insights into when and why customers are calling, when there are peaks in specific queries, and where there is demand for specific products and services.

By automatically structuring data during calls, conversational assistants allow contact centers to improve the accuracy of call routing, more effectively staff particular teams, increase awareness of outages and issues, and make changes to improve the customer experience and reduce operating costs.

Better customer and agent experiences

By reducing repetitive work and creating time for customer service agents to have more meaningful interactions, conversational assistants can reduce agent attrition, increase efficiencies, and leave a positive lasting impression of your customer experience that drives brand loyalty.

Find out how you can alleviate the pressure on your contact center by achieving Zero Touch Resolution >  

Ready to hear it for yourself?

Get a personalized demo to learn how PolyAI can help you
 drive measurable business value.

Request a demo

Request a demo